Locals at Chattogram's Satkania upazila have demanded immediate suspension of the ongoing dredging and sand-mining work in Sangu River, fearing that it can put environmental balance and lives on the river-bank in jeopardy.
They staged a demonstration on the river bank at Dohajari of Satkania on Friday morning, to press home their demands. Hundreds of people took part in the rally.
The speakers alleged that Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority in collaboration with a construction company – Toma Construction – and some local sand traders has been conducting the dredging work illegally.
Even the BIWTA overlooked Bangladesh Water Development Board's (BWDB) directive not to dredge the river in an unplanned way.
If the dredging work continues, adjacent lands and river protection embankment will be destroyed, they feared.
The locals also warned of stricter movement if the authority pays no heed to their demands.
However, the chief engineer (dredging) of BIWTA, Md Abdul Motin ruled out the allegations, saying the dredging work is being carried out complying with rules and regulations, in addition to directives of the BWDB.
He made it clear that the BIWTA has no connection with the alleged construction farm.
"The extracted sands are being used in a nearby project of Bangladesh Railway. The concerned ministry has paid the BIWTA TK5.47 crore for the sand and entrusted Toma Construction with the mining work," he said.
About the feared bad-impact on environment, the BIWTA official said dredging work is a very common practice across the country. The river as well as environmental balance does not endure any adverse impact ensued by the dredging work.
He further said a vested group is misguiding the locals to reap their own benefit.